Tseng claims LPGA Championship

Sun, 26 Jun 23:40:00 2011

Yani Tseng of Taiwan underlined her status as women's world number one by winning the LPGA Championship by 10 strokes to become the youngest golfer to amass four Major professional titles.

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The 22-year-old Tseng, who began the overcast day with a five-shot lead, doubled her advantage by posting a final-round 66 at Locust Hill for a record-equalling total of 19-under-par 269 that left American Morgan Pressel (71) a distant second.

Tseng, who won the 2008 LPGA Championship at Bulle Rock and last year's Kraft Nabisco and Women's Open at Royal Birkdale, surpassed Pak Se-ri of South Korea and Tiger Woods, who were both 24 when they won a fourth professional Major.

Patty Berg was 23 when she captured her first four Majors in the years before the formation of the LPGA.

The long-hitting Taiwanese matched the best women's Major score in relation to par, duplicating Cristie Kerr's total here last year, Dottie Pepper's winning score at the 1999 Kraft Nabisco and Briton Karen Stupples' total in claiming the 2004 Women's Open.

"I feel very excited," said Tseng, who thrust her arms in the air and tipped her cap to acknowledge the cheers of the gallery as she walked up the 18th fairway.

"I almost cry, because it was so emotional," she said. "I'm from Taiwan. It's a little country and the people here are very, very supportive of me. I feel really good about that."

Her brilliant showing at Locust Hill represented a rebound from disappointment at the previous women's Major, the Kraft Nabisco in April, where she lost a two-shot lead in the final round to finish second to Stacy Lewis.

The victory was her third of the season and gave her three Major wins from the last six women's Majors played.

In a telephone interview with the Golf Channel, 10-times Major winner Annika Sorenstam called Tseng "the new face of the LPGA".

The other top players in women's golf battled for second.

The 23-year-old Pressel, winner of the 2007 Kraft Nabisco, birdied the par-five 17th hole to snap a four-way tie for second place and finish on nine-under-par 279.

Tied a further shot back were Americans Kerr (69) and Paula Creamer (69) as well as Norway's Suzann Pettersen (67), the 2007 winner.

"Yani is doing what I did last year," said Kerr. "I'm not surprised. Yani is a great player. She's in the prime of her career. She's found her stride at a young age."

Pettersen also praised Tseng.

"Yani is a phenomenal golfer," said Pettersen, who reached nine-under with three birdies in a row from the 15th before sliding with a bogey at the last. "I think she is great."

The resilient Tseng overcame a stumble at the first hole before turning the final round into a romp.

Disturbed by a photographer snapping a picture on her backswing, she pulled her opening tee shot into the left rough leading to a bogey-five that cut her lead to four shots.

The long-hitting Tseng roared back with three birdies in a row, bombing a drive 300 yards from the elevated tee on the third hole that outdistanced the drive of playing partner LaCrosse by nearly 60 yards.

She made a two-foot birdie at the second to reclaim her five-shot lead, a 10-footer at the third and another two-footer at the fourth.

After parring the fifth, Tseng birdied two of the next three holes for good measure and the rout was on as she made the turn with a 10-shot lead.

Tseng said she knew she had a shot at a record 20-under-par total and set that as a goal.

"My caddie said, 'I'll buy you dinner if you make 20-under.

I said, 'is that all I get?'" Tseng had a 12-foot putt for birdie and the record at the 18th. "This is for dinner," she told the caddie before her putt slid by to the right.

The silver trophy, however, was all hers.

Reuters

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